Every now and then my boss and I will pick on consultants and their function in an organization. Usually the bitching and moaning we do revolves around how consultants never seem to give a damn about the work they do for an organization.

To them, business is "get in, make something, collect pay, tell org to fuck off".

To me it always seemed "wrong"; the ways they operate. They had no reason to make anything of substance, or do any good</em> work, because in a month or two they would be gone. To me it always sounded like it was their</em> fault for not caring in the least about the services they provided.

What I've come to realize though after reading more and more consulting agreements is that it's not the consultants fault.

I'm sure each company and organization is different in their agreements, but I'm also pretty sure that there is plenty of overlap in thinking. The point that needs to be made here is that...

...the agreement you sign, spells out exactly what the company thinks of you.</p>
And before you think that they love you, realize that the whole deal is usually one sided; in the company's favor.

For example.

I have seen clauses which...

  • allow the company to legally steal your entire</strong> intellectual property if you use any portion of it while in service to them</li>
  • force you to never, legally, be allowed to accept work in the field in which the company you did work for, operates. These are usually called non-compete clauses and they make me sick. Ex. If you work for Mcdonalds in fast food, you would be prohibited from working at Burger King, Wendy's, etc if you ever quit McDonalds.</li>
  • Have clauses which never expire, even after the agreement expires</li>
  • Have built in conflicts of interest where companies can just assign someone from their own</strong> organization to make decisions on your</strong> behalf, that you otherwise would not have made, if you choose not to assist the organization in some way.</li>
  • Turn the tables on you and your current employer. This one's hard to explain, but in a nutshell it goes like this. If you consult for me, and your current employer uses products that behave in any way that is similar to the products I sell, then you're not legally allowed to do work for your employer any more.</li>
    </ul>
    And if you accept the agreement, well Johnny, tell em what they've won!
    1. A measly stipend for doing the work</li>
    2. No guarantee of future work</li>
    3. Nothing that they can show as proof of competence in a subject which could land them future work at other organizations. It's as if you never performed the work to begin with.</li>
      </ol>
      What really pisses me off is that these agreements are offered to, and signed by, individuals who work in an economy which is, time and again, promoted as being "built on competition". Spare me this mockery.

      These agreements are the venom that keeps individuals from doing honest work. I understand that a company has interests and rightfully would want to protect those interests. They seem to forget though, that the consultants they try to hire have interests too.

      These agreements are what cause consultants to behave in the ways that my boss and I talk so much shit about.

      So I'm no longer curious why they can care so little. The company that has hired them requires</strong> that they do not care about their work. It does its best to belittle them and tie them down even before</em> they get their foot in the door.

      Sad state of affairs.

      Besides not agreeing to the terms, and subsequently not getting the work, is there any way to go about reclaiming some/any of your</em> interests from these agreements?